All About Second Amendment Sanctuaries

A Second Amendment Sanctuary.

Over the past few years, several enterprising cities, counties, and even states have issued proclamations and even passed legislation declaring themselves to be Second Amendment Sanctuaries. From rural counties all the way up to entire states such as Kansas and Texas, jurisdictions around the United States have promulgated and codified their respect and support of the original intent of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, aka the right to keep and bear arms.

It’s a rather interesting twist on the general workings of government in this country. The federal Constitution is supposed to acknowledge the rights of the people and outline the responsibilities of the federal government, especially so the states don’t get out of line, but as of late, it seems the Feds are asleep at the wheel, or worse, steering things in the wrong direction by proposing massive gun control laws, death threats, and authoritarian decrees…

However, some places are choosing to fight back…

What Is A Second Amendment Sanctuary?

Of course, before we outline the specifics, we probably should define just what a Second Amendment Sanctuary is. In a nutshell, Second Amendment Sanctuaries are states, counties, and municipalities that have made declarations to not assist or actively impede and prohibit, the enforcement of gun control laws by a higher-level governmental authority.

For example, after federal government workers and other authoritarian types residing in Virginia voted as a bloc and turned the state ‘blue’ (Democrat) in 2018, the bulk of the counties outside of the DC and Richmond regions declared themselves Second Amendment Sanctuaries, pledging either via resolution or legislation, not to assist state or federal agencies in the enforcement of new state or federal gun control laws.

For example, if a red flag order is served on a resident of Winchester, Virginia (haha), local law enforcement will not enforce or assist the state in the actions required to execute the order. Winchester police will stay home, leaving the actual hard work to the Virgina State Police.

Along the same lines, if there’s a violation of federal gun control laws, i.e. a hypothetical resident of Winchester decided to shorten his AR-15 barrel to 15.999999999999999999999999999 inches (bust out the micrometer, kids…), the Winchester police would not assist, leaving the enforcement of this NFA violation to the Feds only.

Sounds nice, huh? And it is nice. Ironically we’re having to look to the states to preserve the precepts and values of the federal Constitution, since the Feds seem to have failed at doing so.

However, the devil is in the details. You can’t just start 3D-printing machine pistol parts and think the government will sit there eating paste or reading the junior edition of Granma or whatever they do in their spare time…

Resolutions, Declarations, and Laws - Oh My!

The first out-and-out Second Amendment Sanctuary declarations came about in 2013, after the federal government and several state governments sought to (and in some sad cases, did pass) overreaching gun control laws, including pointless background checks, and things like magazine-capacity bans which only serve to mollify the ignorant and demented.

Anyway, in May 2013, Carroll County, Maryland passed a Second Amendment Preservation Resolution, declaring themselves a Sanctuary County, where local law enforcement would not assist state or federal lawmen in the enforcement of gun control. Mainly symbolic, since Maryland is a small state and has proportionally-ample resources at that level, and of course the Feds have a lot of their resources clustered in the state due to it’s proximity to DC. In other words, the local cops sit it out, there’s enough higher-level resources to do the work.

Around the same time, Kansas took a major step and declared the state, via legislation, a Second Amendment Sanctuary.

In the subsequent years, the idea exploded, with 15 states, as of June 22nd 2021, and numerous counties and municipalities making declarations and passing legislation. By most estimates, over half the nation has some sort of Sanctuary declaration or law on the books.

Now, for the real talk.

A Lot Of The Sanctuary Declarations Are Symbolic

Sure, symbolism is a lot. A Second Amendment Sanctuary declaration is occasionally just that, a declaration. A statement of purpose meant to inspire and rally the people towards the support of individual rights and freedoms. In an age where governments and their assorted flunkies and hangers-on seek to turn everyone into some sort of NPC goop, it’s important to have a symbol to the contrary.

But, of course, it’s symbolic. Sometimes the declarations lack “teeth”. A county may declare itself a Second Amendment Sanctuary, but there’s no penalties or legal mechanism for pushback. The county could declare itself a 2A Sanctuary, and local LE could ignore the declaration, and enforce state/federal gun control laws. The county would be powerless to do anything in a legislative sense.

However, Sanctuary Declarations often mirror the mood of the people and local law enforcement, so they are, in fact, meaningful.

Second Amendment Sanctuary Laws Have More Teeth

By definition, a law has penalties proscribed for those who violate it, whether the violator is a citizen, or a government employee. Many municipalities and several states, including Texas and Kansas, have Second Amendment Sanctuary Laws on the books.

The laws expressly prohibit state and local law enforcement to cooperate with federal agents in the enforcement of federal gun control laws, present and future. State and local law enforcement who violate the statutes are subject to administrative, civil, and criminal penalties.

A Texas Ranger who assists an ATF agent in busting someone over a trivial NFA violation may find himself out of a job, or worse, for example.

Mercer County, in Missouri, took things a step further this past Feburary, where local law enforcement will be required to impede and arrest federal agents enforcing gun control laws within the County borders. Whether this means they will block even mundane actions like an ATF Industry Operations Investigator doing an audit of a local gun shop remains to be seen.

However, it’s a ballsy move, and one that I can certainly endorse. If the Feds are choosing to ignore the Constitution, it’s traditionally up to the states, and ultimately We The People - by force of arms if required, to set them straight.

Brownells

What Second Amendment Sanctuaries Mean For Gun Owners

Unfortunately, Second Amendment Sanctuaries, aren’t (yet) a place where gun owners get carte blanche to do what they want. Authoritarian governments aren’t easily thwarted. As always, there’s workarounds and punitive measures. For example:

  • Upper levels of government could withold funds and/or material assistances to Sanctuaries. Sadly a lot of places are dependent on federal funding to even have a modicum of civil existence, so this could prove problematic. It’s great if you are a 2A Sanctuary, but the ‘normies’ won’t be too hot to support if federal funds are denied and the Interstates fall apart and critical infrastructure decays. That’s how the Feds got a 21 and up drinking age nationwide in the 80s. The Feds had zero authority to set a national drinking age, so all they did was denied federal highway funding to states that refused to comply. Due to racketeering and goldbricking, roads are expensive. Every state folded.

  • Law enforcement that’s uppity about your guns will find another way if they really have it out for you, up to and including fabricating evidence to nail you on another crime. Guns? The local cops sit on the sidelines. Rumors that you’re moving fentanyl? Everyone saddles up for the attack, and the guns are a convenient war trophy. Fentanyl is disgusting and deadly, and the PR optics would be bad for local cops if they just sat that one out.

  • A lot of state and local agencies rely on money and hand-me-down equipment from the Feds. Ideals are great, but it’s super-difficult to stick to them when your department can’t make payroll or there’s no ammo for training or operational concerns. Bribery basically.

Also worth noting that some jurisdictions, most notably Texas and Kansas, have chosen to nullify Federal NFA regulations in some fashion, usually concerning suppressors. Ostensibly, the National Firearms Act of 1934 is a tax. You pay $200 and you get a stamp to prove you paid the tax on the item in question. The Form is your receipt, and the registration is the Fed’s proof you paid the tax on their side. Remember, the Constitution grants the Feds jurisdiction over interstate commerce.

The workaround is the “made in the state, never leaves the state” clause, as it were. Kansas, and now Texas, now have laws that deregulate suppressors at the state level, rendering cans as over-the-counter items for state residents, provided they are marked as being made in the state, and never leave the state.

For example, Radical Firearms, located in Texas, appears to be making suppressors emblazoned with “MADE IN TEXAS”, to be sold to Texans only.

The idea the Feds can’t regulate something that is lawfully only supposed to stay in the state.

But, as Kansas found out - “good luck with that.” A disabled Army veteran purchased a “Made in Kansas” suppressor over the counter from a military surplus store, and the Feds prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Kansas, sadly, did nothing. The charges stood, even on appeal, and the Supreme Court, ironically under the Trump administration, refused to hear the case.

Let’s hope the “Made In Texas” suppressor law has a little more backing than some election-year shenanigans like Kansas pulled. It could very well be a true test, as Governor Abbott is a staunch opponent of the Biden regime, and a big manufacturer like Radical is seemingly getting behind it.

In this case, and similar cases that will undoubtedly happen, the buyer should beware. It’s one thing to live in a slave state with a magazine capacity law - in a lot of cases, local and even state law enforcement agents won’t enforce the ban, unless you give them a reason to. Colorado is famous for this, where most officers outside of the cities turn a blind eye to standard-capacity magazine sales, either in complete or “kit” form.

The real lightning rods are blatant National Firearms Act violations, as it’s been for awhile. Remember, they couldn’t arrest Randy Weaver for being an asshole, as being an asshole is protected speech - so they ginned up an NFA violation and the end result was the deaths of several members of his family by Federal snipers such as Lon Horiuci.

And yes, the Kansans thumbing their nose at suppressor laws was a blatant “come get me” move. Unfortunately the gamble didn’t work.

The National Firearms Act is the treasured crown jewel of the government’s gun control efforts. They use it as the linchpin for the notorious ATF rulings, where words are redefined to fit the NFA’s existing language. Overt public violations of the National Firearms Act will most likely be prosecuted by the Feds. Suffice to say, if you’re a Texan, and you purchase that Made In Texas can, you may get a visit from some three-letter agency or another. Where the rubber meets the road will be whether the Texas government intervenes or not.

It may take a few innocent citizens ‘falling on their swords’ as it were, to get some “oomph” into the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement.

We Have Precedent On Our Side

We do have precedent on our side though. For awhile now, states and localities alike have ignored the federal prohibition on marijuana possession and use by regular citizens. Medicinal and recreational marijuana is common, and often not prosecuted by local, state, and federal agents. It’s not a priority on LE radar in a lot of cases.

Also, when the administration of President Donald Trump cracked down on illegal immigration, several cities declared themselves sanctuaries for illegals, with little to no consequences at the federal level.

Now, for obvious reasons, the federal government is willing to “flex” on immigration and drug use. Illegals often vote as a bloc (if granted the franchise) for those who help regularlize their situation, and of course the government would love you to be stoned off your ass 24/7 so you don’t realize what they are up to.

To be sure, the government will play hardball with 2A sanctuaries, but precedent is important, especially in a court of law.

A Word Of Caution

If you live in a hardcore Second Amendment Sanctuary, and go the route of flagrantly disobeying federal gun laws, please tread carefully. If you’re milling up suppressors and auto sears, have an attorney as your best friend, call your favorite gun rights organization, ring up the Governor himself if possible. Ironically, in this case, it could pay for normally-discreet gun owners to be obnoxiously public about things. It’s hard to silence someone who has a lot of eyes on them.

Truly interesting times, indeed for us Second Amendment Radicals.

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